HBO Max

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by trip1eX, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Jul 9, 2019 #1 of 56
    trip1eX

    trip1eX Well-Known Member

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    will be HBO plus new series plus new movies plus some selection of Time Warner's back catalog.

    The amount of old content on the service wasn't very clear from what I read. But the big name that will be there is Friends.

    They aren't going to do the 3 tier service like they stated earlier. Just this and HBO. For a price not too much more than HBO.

    HBO Max coming Spring 2020.

    I was skeptical they would brand it with the HBO name. It made some sense because HBO is obviously a well known brand name. But at the same time I felt like it would dilute the HBO brand since HBO was a Premium brand in my eyes. Also doesn't quite make sense to me that something better than HBO which is what the HBO Max name implies is HBO plus a lot more content that isn't as "high quality" as the HBO content.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  2. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if this will tick off "regular" HBO users: why should subscribers have to pay more and why isn't it all part of a regular HBO subscription?
     
  3. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    Because more is always better in our culture.:rolleyes:

    Also, with the new AT&T corporate ownership, HBO content itself is not likely to be as "high quality" as it previously was.
     
  4. OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush Active Member

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    I feel like Disney+ coming out of the gate at $6.99 changes the math on a lot of the other upcoming (and existing) services. HBO is what, like $15/mo? So what are they going to expect people to pay for HBO Max? I feel like it never made sense to have both HBO Go and HBO Now so maybe HBO Max becomes their one and only service. It would be silly to start offering three different flavors of HBO subscriptions, but this is AT&T so who knows what dumb thing they'll end up doing.

    Also, I'm still totally baffled by the draw of old shows like Friends and why they're paying so much for the rights. Re-runs are regularly aired and I can collect them all with my DVR if I wanted them.
     
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  5. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    I read an article the other day (from a UK web site, although they seemed to be talking about the US show) that claimed that 7% of all Netflix traffic was "The Office". Take it with a grain of salt, but still.
     
  6. Adam C.

    Adam C. Active Member

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    Not sure about 7%, but I did read that The Office is the most watched show on Netflix. You can actually get this show for free on Cozi TV (over the air). But of course then you're dealing with commercials and who knows if they even air the episodes in any kind of order. Full disclaimer: I watch The Office every night on Netflix :)
     
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  7. trip1eX

    trip1eX Well-Known Member

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    OFfice and Friends are the top 2 most watched shows on Netflix. That's why they were paying the big bucks for them.

    I also think the draw on those shows on Netflix is the nature of the service. You can watch whatever episode you want. Whenever. No commercials too. You can binge watch them from Ep 1 to the end in order. That is a difficult to do on cable last I checked.

    And then of course you don't need a cable sub.

    PLus Netflix has ~140 million subscribers. Many ...over half now are overseas. If Friends and OFfice rights apply to overseas customers too then I can imagine many there might be getting their first taste of those shows or having much better access to those shows than they ever did before. Plus whole new generations of viewers discover shows like that.

    I mean Friends ran in the 90s. 1994. Kids that were born that year are now the age the actors were. And the actors are still famous or at least especially Jennifer Anniston.

    Office only stopped a handful of years ago. IN that case it's still fairly "timely." My kid watched a lot of that and knows way more than I do about it and he was 4 when the series debuted.

    also syndication (essentially ~daily reruns on other channels) has always been a thing. The biggest sitcoms always commanded lots of money in syndication because people would loved watching those shows again and again. Sitcoms in particular. and a lot of the actors and others involved in the show... made their money on the back end when the shows got to syndication.
     
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  8. OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush Active Member

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    Oh, I don't doubt Friends & The Office's popularity, I just don't get it. It makes no sense to me to pay $15 or so a month for a show you can own the entirety of on DVD for about $100 or free if you're clever with a DVR.

    Of course, I don't understand the long lines at Starbucks either or why anyone in their right mind would pay what the cable & satellite companies charge these days.
     
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  9. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    I'm paying $15 for HBO Now currently (although I don't do it year-round). I'll happily pay another buck to get HBO Max with lots more content for only $16! I'm betting that HBO Max will also (finally!) have 4K HDR too.

    I've been following what's going on with this new WarnerMedia service since the concept was first announced. Basically, this is their effort to put everything they've got (except live news and sports), and then some, into one huge service to take on Netflix directly. It'll have 10,000 hours of content when it debuts. Sure, some folks fret that this will mean HBO content gets dumbed down, and I guess that's possible. But at least in the initial years, I think they're going to maintain the separate HBO brand, as well as a few of the HBO linear channels, as its own content destination inside of HBO Max. Meanwhile, new original series created exclusively for this service are being branded (per Warner's press release yesterday) as "Max Originals". I think with those, they're going to try to reach different demographics (including teens/young adults) and somewhat broader tastes than the HBO brand reaches. HBO is very strong with college-educated folks over 30. Netflix is very strong with those under 30. (That's my perception, anyway.)

    My hunch is that Cinemax is going to die, both as a standalone service as well as an active brand, once HBO Max launches. Even though the WSJ (and others?) have reported that Cinemax content would be included in HBO Max (which makes sense given the "Max" moniker), no mention of Cinemax appeared in yesterday's press release or sizzle reel. Given the brand's longstanding connotation with "Skinemax" porn, plus the fact that it's always played second-fiddle to HBO, I think Cinemax is more of a branding liability than asset for HBO Max. (Keep in mind that HBO Max, like Netflix, will be pitched as a service offering content for all ages, including kids. Nothing says "not family friendly" like "Skinemax".) My prediction is that past Cinemax originals (e.g. The Knick, Banshee) will quietly live on forever in HBO Max while current ones such as Jett and Warrior will be rebranded as "Max Originals" for future seasons. Cinemax will stop being sold anywhere, with existing subs encouraged to switch over to HBO Max. On cable and satellite systems, all of the Cinemax channels go dark, except the main one, which might be rebranded as HBO Cinema, home to 24/7 uncut, commercial-free Hollywood films (which was the whole point of Cinemax when it initially launched back in 1980).

    Warner apparently stated yesterday that the HBO Go and HBO Now apps will continue to exist. I still don't think HBO Now will continue on for very long unless they lower the price to around $12 or less (versus $16 for the full HBO Max). Makes no sense for it to stick around at $15, unless it's just for 6 months for existing HBO Now subs to willingly migrate over to HBO Max (because maybe Warner doesn't want to force them).

    As for HBO Go, that only make sense to stick around if HBO continues to exist as a standalone service for traditional cable/sat subscribers. There's been some talk of how all those existing HBO subs would automatically get HBO Max too (which, if true, would make the HBO Go app completely unnecessary). But I don't think that'll quite be the case.

    HBO obviously already has carriage contracts in place with Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Cox, etc. and so has to work around those until they run out. My guess is that Warner will say to them, "We're killing Cinemax completely but you can still distribute HBO as a standalone service per the terms of our existing contract if you want. You still pay our negotiated wholesale rate to us and then you charge your customers whatever you want for it. They'll still get the HBO linear channels plus streaming via HBO Go. (Oh, BTW, the only HBO linear channels we plan to offer any more are HBO, HBO Family, HBO Latino and HBO Cinema.) Or we can replace the current contract with a new one for you to distribute HBO Max instead. (Sorry, we're gonna have to charge you a higher wholesale price that's more in line with what Netflix gets.) Regardless of your decision, you should know that we're gonna offer HBO Max direct to consumers as a standalone streaming service for $16/mo and we're gonna advertise the heck out of it, so your customers will be aware of that option. If you're still charging $15 for just HBO, many of them will cancel and come straight to us for HBO Max for just a dollar more. So if you decide to stick with selling just HBO, you may have to lower your price to $12-13. On the other hand, if you decide to distribute HBO Max instead, we think you could price it at $17, a dollar more than us, because customers appreciate having all their content aggregated into your cable box UI, plus unified cable billing.
     
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  10. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    Friends never appealed to me, but I have long had The Office --which I think was one of the best American cable TV sitcoms ever--at the end of my Netflix streaming queue with the intention of re-watching the entire series from start to finish some day. I wouldn't subscribe just for that show (and I may never get around to it over other viewing priorities), but it's a nice fillip. Likewise, having the entire series of Breaking Bad at hand is a bonus. I lent my Blu-ray set of Breaking Bad to my sister a long time ago (highly recommended, by the way, for a wealth of supplemental material) and have binge-watched it on Netflix in the meantime when I had a hankering for a (third, fourth?) dose of WW.
     
  11. ManeJon

    ManeJon Active Member

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    Pretty soon to get the shows you watched not long ago on 1 service you will need a dozen. NBC+, CBS, ESPN+, HBO max, Netflix, etc. Pretty soon "cord cutters" will be paying for more than regular cable TV service users - although the content will be different.
     
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  12. warrenn

    warrenn Active Member

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    I doubt many people subscribe to Netflix for just those shows. They also watch other content, but they may watch those shows on a consistent basis which gives them high viewership.

    Another factor in this is that many younger people don't watch regular TV. They're watching streaming on their phones and computers. So to them, it doesn't matter if shows are available on cable or OTA. They don't have cable, an antenna, a device which can receive OTA signals, a DVR, or DVD player with which to watch the shows.
     
  13. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    What I see happening is this: rather than content-owning companies such as WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, CBS, Viacom, Discovery, etc. selling us their content embedded in a bunch of individual cable channels, where those channels had to purchased as part of a bundle including other companies' channels too, they're moving to a model where they just sell us their content directly, as on-demand collections inside their own apps.

    So HBO, Cinemax, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, and CNN's original docs/docuseries all get absorbed into HBO Max (along with a lot of other new and old stuff produced by Warner Bros.). If you have HBO Max, there's really no need for a cable bundle with any of those channels, except for live news/talk on CNN and live sports on TBS and TNT.

    We already see content from Disney's own ABC and Freeform channels immediately available on Hulu and they're starting to do that now with FX too. I expect the Disney and NatGeo-branded cable channels to be direct feeders into the upcoming Disney+. But then of course Hulu and Disney+ also offer a lot of additional content that's not on any cable channel. See how this works?

    In a year or two, I can imagine we'll have something like the following line-up of subscription video-on-demand services (SVODs).

    SVODs from traditional media
    • Hulu: $6 with ads / $12 ad-free
    • Disney+: $7 ad-free
    • ESPN+: $5 with ads, with additional, more expensive paid tiers available as ESPN makes more and more live sports available outside their cable channels
    • HBO Max: $10 with ads / $16 ad-free
    • NBCU: free with ads for cable subscribers / $10 with ads for non-cable subs / $6 fee to remove ads for either group
    • NBC News Now: free app, maybe also be integrated inside the NBCU SVOD
    • Discovery/BBCNature: $5 with ads / $9 ad-free
    • CBS All Access/Viacom/AMC?: $8 with ads / $13 ad-free
    • CBSN: free news app, also available inside CBS All Access
    • Showtime+Starz: $13 ad-free
    • Fox: no plans to launch their own SVOD featuring content from the only channels they have now (Fox, Fox News, Fox Business, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network), although they will eventually have to distribute their set of live channels with cloud DVR/on-demand as mini-bundles that can be added inside of popular streaming apps like Hulu, HBO Max, CBS All Access, etc.
    • Sinclair regional sports networks (RSNs): ?? Maybe $15 with ads for all your area's games (live and on-demand) if Sinclair eventually distributes via a standalone streaming package
    • Hallmark: their channels and content either gets purchased and absorbed by a bigger player (e.g. NBCU) or they go it alone at $5 with ads / $9 ad-free
    • A+E Networks: they either get purchased and absorbed by a bigger player or they turn into a small studio supplying content to various consumer-facing services like Netflix, Hulu, etc.

    SVODs from new media
    Netflix: $10 with ads / $16 ad-free (4K HDR 4-screen plan)
    Prime Video: $9 ad-free monthly (or part of overall Prime for $119/yr)
    Apple TV+: $7 ad-free (or as $3 add-on to Apple Music) -- free extended trial for all Apple device owners upon fall 2019 launch

    If I add up all those prices using cheaper "with ads" options where available, the total comes to $95. But that doesn't include pricing for the Fox bundle, or the RSNs or the other sports stuff yet to be added to ESPN+ (or other steaming sports outlets in the future).

    If I add up all those prices using the pricier "ad-free" options, the total comes to $132. Same caveat applies about lack of most sports.

    Keep in mind that those prices include a lot of what we used to call "premium" services, formerly distributed by the HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax cable channels. Plus a whole lot more content that never aired on any cable channels, like the originals from Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, etc. And most Americans never subscribed to even one, much less all, premium services simultaneously.

    Also keep in mind that it's easy to juggle SVODs; add them and watch for a few months, switch them for different ones if you get tired of them and want a change of scenery. No one is forcing you to subscribe to all the different services all at once (or ever).
     
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  14. smark

    smark Well-Known Member

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    You make the assumption that it will be easy to switch. Soon their will be grandfathered pricing and term deals for lower rates as well. That will be the future (same as the past).
     
  15. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Easy to switch between SVODs? Yes, the reason I assume it will continue to be easy to switch is competition. No major SVOD has ever required a contract (e.g. must subscribe for 12 months) and the competition is set to increase, so I see no reason that will change. Want a great way to ward off subscribers? Tell them they can only access your service by paying yearly. Even Amazon Prime Video began offering a monthly video-only option (which I priced above), although what they *clearly* want is for consumers to be year-round Prime members.

    What we WILL see more of are discounts offered to those who prepay for a longer time period. Showtime, for instance, already lets you prepay for one year for $109.90 rather than pay monthly at the regular $10.99 rate. So they're effectively giving you two free months if you pay by the year. That will become a common thing to try and reduce churn.

    I do also think that we'll see the prices of these SVODs continue to creep up over time, especially on the ad-free plans. But then, the price of cable channel bundles has been going up forever, and not just creeping.
     
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  16. TonyD79

    TonyD79 Well-Known Member

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    I always admire people who are optimistic about corporations doing well by their customers when it flies in the face of everything we have ever seen from those corporations.
     
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  17. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    It's not so much about "doing well by their customers" as it is "fear of losing their customers to the competition". As long as our government doesn't allow any of the major powers that be (Disney, AT&T, NBCU, CBS, Netflix, Amazon or Apple) to merge with each other or collude with each other (in opposition to antitrust law), then I'm not worried about any of them imposing long-term contracts on their video subscribers. They'd have more to lose than to gain. (And actually, I don't think it would have a material impact if either Apple or Amazon were to purchase, say, CBS.)

    The far more likely scenario is that we see them gradually increase their monthly rates to the point that churn doesn't hurt them as much and they're able to offer a more generous discount when pre-paying for longer periods (e.g. 6 months or 12 months), thereby incentivizing consumers to opt into a "contract," so to speak.
     
  18. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    Today's NYT features an excellent, extensive survey of the SVOD industry. The article will appear in this weekend's NYT Magazine.

    One telling quip refers to the changes in the last 20 years or so that make it much harder to produce a quality series like HBO's The Sopranos:

    ". . . the proliferation of shows has splintered and scattered those [talented] writers, actors and scouts — leading the medium from its early-aughts “golden age” to what some critics have called the era of “good-enough” TV."

    The Great Race to Rule Streaming TV
     
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  19. schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

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    Game shows! I guess they want HBO to race to the bottom with all the other crap channels.

     
  20. Joe3

    Joe3 Active Member

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    I take the reason why some of you are not adding the cost of the internet is that you are assuming they will give it to you for free. :):):)
     

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